Trump compares United States infrastructure to 'third-world country'

Geneva Matthews
August 16, 2017

Construction equipment fills a portion of Cedar Street during a years-long water main and sewer renovation project under the street in Somerville, Mass., last week.

The executive order Trump will sign Tuesday, according to the White House official, will set "a two-year goal for completion of the permitting process" and ensure that projects only need one federal government decision to move forward with a project, not many.

The text of Trump's executive order was not immediately available.

The new policy, which also aims to cut back on duplicative requests for information and late-stage changes in the approval process, was unveiled at Trump Tower in New York City. "We will rebuild our country with American workers, American iron, American aluminum, American steel".

"No longer will we allow the infrastructure of our magnificent country to crumble and decay", Trump said at the news conference.

Though the president did not immediately clarify how his executive order would streamline the federal permitting process on infrastructure, it was previously reported that Trump was expected to eviscerates a key portion of former President Barack Obama's Federal Flood Risk Management Standard, which was implemented by executive order in 2015.

The Obama administration said the more stringent standards were necessary because of sea level rise associated with climate change.

The Obama-era standards required public structures such as subsidized housing and water treatment plants to be built at least 2 feet above the 100-year flood standard, the Washington Post noted.

Since the Carter Administration, federal agencies have been required to avoid building in floodplains, but until 2015, there was no requirement that agencies that couldn't - or wouldn't - avoid building in flood-prone areas take extra steps to make those buildings resilient.

FEMA's estimated that the U.S. lost $260 billion in flooding damages from 1980 to 2013. The White House did not provide any more details on the coming executive order. "Directing federal agencies to ignore the impact of flooding in spending federal dollars is just a complete waste of taxpayer money and continues this administration's head-in-the-sand approach to the perils of climate change, which is resulting in increased flooding". "And it will", he said.

Trump's definition of the USA - among the most developed nations in the world - as being like a third-world nation when it comes to infrastructure echoed the statements of other United States leaders over the past several years.

He called Trump's order "an enormous mistake that is disastrous for taxpayers", adding the Obama rule "would have saved billions of dollars over time".

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